The Fresno Grizzlies were set for a rare day off following Tuesday’s 7-1 victory against the El Paso Chihuahuas, enjoying the freedom during the Pacific Coast League’s designated travel day.
Wednesday marks the only off day during the PCL season that the team doesn’t have to travel, allowing players a quick hiatus in the middle of an eight-game homestand.
The Grizzlies return to action Thursday when they host Salt Lake in the opener of a four-game series – amid reports Tim Lincecum will make a third rehab start for the Bees in his bid to return to the major leagues.
That puts him on the bump at Chukchansi Park to face the Grizzlies at 5:05 p.m. Sunday.
Lincecum, who turns 32 on June 15, made his second start for the Bees on Tuesday. After allowing four runs (two earned) on three hits with six strikeouts against two walks in an 11-2 loss at Reno, Lineceum told reporters he thought he needed to make one more start before he’d be ready to join the Angels’ rotation, and the big-league club agreed.
Lincecum started five games for Fresno in 2007, allowing just one run in 31 innings before getting called up by the Giants and going 108-83 during a nine-year run that included World Series rings in 2010, ’12 and ’14 along with National League Cy Young Awards in ’08 and 2009.
6.1 No-hit innings for Tim Lincecum in his last start in Fresno as a Grizzly in April 2007
Because the Grizzlies played a day game Tuesday, it was almost like a day-and-a-half off. Mike Hauschild, who pitched five shutout innings in the win, was the first player out of the clubhouse doors with a head start on the limited free time.
But in a league where days off are far and few between, with the exception of the All-Star Break, what do ballplayers do with that cherished time away from the game?
In the corner of the clubhouse locker room, first baseman Jon Singleton leaned back in his chair in front of his locker, smiling and at ease.
“We don’t get very many days off, so we just take them as they come,” Singleton said, who plans to “just relax, go do something fun and get away from baseball.”
Outfielder Andrew Aplin said he’s planned a trip with his girlfriend to Monterey to “get away for some good weather, do the beach and enjoy it.”
People don’t understand the amount of travel, and the wake-up calls, and trying to play in the same day, so we’re lucky to have (the day off) in the middle of the homestand.
Grizzlies manager Tony DeFrancesco
Pitcher James Hoyt had much more laid-back plans. “I’m going to watch a movie and then the (NBA) Finals,” he said.
Play-by-play announcer Doug Greenwald headed to San Francisco after the final out to catch the Giants play the Boston Red Sox two nights in a row.
Grizzlies media relations director Paul Braverman went the opposite way, traveling to Los Angeles after Tuesday’s game to watch Julio Urias make his first start at Dodger Stadium against the Colorado Rockies.
Others are likely to take a page out of manager Tony DeFrancesco’s book and hit the links for a round or two, likely at Fort Washington Golf and Country Club or Copper River Country Club.
“What I might do tomorrow is maybe go play some golf, just try to relax and get away from the game,” DeFrancesco said. “A lot of players will likely be out on the golf course. I’ll try and get out there early before it gets too hot.”
Either way, it’s a nice break from the demanding schedule of Triple-A ball.
“They’re well needed,” DeFrancesco said of the days off. “The minor leagues are a very tough level. People don’t understand the amount of travel, and the wake-up calls, and trying to play in the same day, so we’re lucky to have (the day off) in the middle of the homestand.”